Wednesday 29 February 2012

Marriage On The Cards For UK Window Cleaners

Disabled Andrew’s race to give his vows before he becomes wheelchair-bound - A man with a degenerative condition wants to marry the woman of his dreams – before it’s too late for him to stand to give his vows. Andrew Mullen, 39, faces a race against time to say “I do” to Deborah Langley, 44, before he is permanently confined to a wheelchair.

They started a new window-cleaning business which was a huge success. But within two years, Andrew suffered from crippling pain in his legs. “My whole body would shut down and I would collapse on the spot,” he said. Test after test failed to find the cause. Andrew admitted: “Sometimes the pain was just a dull ache but at other times, I felt like I just wanted someone to chop my legs off. “I couldn’t live with it any more but as much as I did not want to live, I knew the reward of my family was worth it.” The couple moved to Hartlepool in 2009 so Andrew could be nearer the support of his family. It was only then that doctors diagnosed his string of related conditions – degenerative spinal disease, facet joint arthritis, mechanical back pain and nerve damage.

His constant support has been Deborah. The couple have nine children between them with two still living at home – 13-year-old son Down’s Syndrome sufferer Shay Mullen for whom Deborah is a full-time carer for, and seven-year-old son Samuel. “Despite the ups and downs with my health, Deb has been a rock throughout”, said Andrew. “If I could have only one wish, it would be to win this wedding as Debs really does deserve it.” Andrew is now on medication, can stand with the aid of a stick, and gets around using a wheelchair. But he wants to stand up as he takes his vows. He explained: “It is that last piece of independence. “Marriage is very important. When you give yourself, you give yourself fully to your partner. Part of that is a man standing up and looking into his partner’s eyes to give her his vows.”

Will you marry me? Susan pops the question - A woman is taking advantage of Leap Year to propose to her boyfriend. Susan Elizabeth Evans of Rhyl got down on one knee today as February 29 is traditionally the only day a woman can propose to her man. Prospective fiancee Susan, 32, has known her boyfriend “for ages”, but began dating David Gore, 34, when she clicked with him after a friend’s party five years ago. She said: “I did a brave thing last week. I only booked my wedding for next year but my fella has not even asked me to marry him yet! I just walked in the house and told him. He took it well to be fair. He said ‘you booked it, you should ask me!’ So this is my official proposal.”

Susan, former Rhyl high pupil and full time mother, said she would try to persuade David, a self employed window cleaner, to take a day off work to celebrate the first day of their engagement. She said: “He comes home with flowers quite a lot, but we haven’t got much time to be romantic or go out for meals because we have six children between us. It’s a busy household. “I’m not telling him I’ve spoken to the Rhyl Journal. If he gets today off, I’ll take him the paper and a plastic ring for now – or maybe buy a packet of Haribo and use of those rings. I’ll think of something!” The Susan, who was born and bred in Rhyl, and David who is originally from Liverpool, had their first child together last year.

Tuesday 28 February 2012

The Last Sad Picture Of An Amateur Window Cleaner

An Indonesian maid who tried to prevent the fall of another maid said 'She was... too low already. She didn't say anything. She just looked panicked and scared.'
Maid clung onto hands of duo before death plunge: For five long minutes last Thursday, a terrified Indonesian maid clung onto the hands of two strangers as she dangled from an eighth-floor window at a Jurong condominium apartment. But the 26-year-old, believed to have been cleaning the windows of her employer's home minutes before, slipped from the grasp of those two pairs of hands and fell to her death. One of the two people who tried to prevent her fall was a fellow Indonesian maid from a seventh-floor unit at the Ivory Heights condo. Declining to be named, she told The Straits Times on Monday that the desperate woman's eyes, wide with fear, have been seared into her memory.

Indonesian hung on for 5 mins, but neighbour and another maid could not pull her in.
Maid falls to her death from 8th-floor window (Singapore): The maid is said to have fallen from this block (pictured) at Ivory Heights condominium. She was taken to hospital, but was later pronounced dead. A mid-afternoon drama ended at a Jurong East condominium when a maid fell to her death after a desperate bid to save her failed. The 26-year-old Indonesian was believed to be cleaning the windows of her employer's home at Ivory Heights condominium when she fell, neighbours said. 'I heard the screams, looked up and saw her at the window,' said a Filipino maid who declined to be named. 'There were two people trying to pull her in but she still fell,' she said on Saturday.

Maid falls eight floors to her death:  A mid-afternoon drama ended at a Jurong East condominium when a maid fell to her death after a desperate bid to save her failed. The 26-year-old Indonesian was believed to be cleaning the windows of her employer’s home at Ivory Heights condominium when she fell. Two people tried to pull her in but failed. Condominium residents said the incident was not the first: In 2007, another maid fell from the 21st floor of a neighbouring block. She was also said to have been cleaning windows when she fell. Between 2006 and 2010, a total of 27 maids died as a result of “falls from height”. The figure includes accidental falls and suicides. Several residents interviewed said that after the last incident, they had forbidden their maids to clean the exterior side of the window. Resident Elizabeth Chan, 65, said: “Just let the rain do the work. What’s the harm?”

Maid falls to her death from Jurong East condo:  An Indonesian maid fell to her death from a Jurong East condominium last Thursday. The 26-year-old was believed to be cleaning the windows of her employer's Ivory Heights unit when she fell, reported The Straits Times. A Filipino maid told the paper that she looked out when she heard screams. She witnessed two people trying to pull her in, but despite their efforts, the woman still fell to the ground. According to the paper, police and paramedics arrived at the scene after the police received a call at about noon on Thursday that a woman had fallen from the eighth floor of Block 122, Jurong East Street 13. They brought the victim to the National University Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 1.20pm. While her employers have declined to comment, residents the paper spoke to said the maid was new to the family, and could have been hired as recently as a week ago. Some residents also surmised that the people who tried to rescue the maid may have been an elderly couple who were at home at the time. The family comprises four young children, their parents and grandparents.

Monday 27 February 2012

Korea Seeks To Blast Home Owners With Robot Window Cleaner

Korean robotics industry picks up steam: Korea’s robotics industry is picking up steam as government-led pilot programs are spurring sales and exports, while carving out new niches in the fledgling market. About 200 local robotics firms are expected to have generated at least 2 trillion won ($1.77 billion) in output last year, an official at the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said Monday, citing preliminary data. The ministry plans to release the final figures as early as June. Yet the tally is up about 12 percent from 2010 and more than 240 percent from 2008.

The ministry attributed the upbeat results to a 2011 pan-government scheme to cultivate robotics as one of the country’s key growth industries. Seven ministries including industry, welfare and environment have been funneling in 15 billion won since then to expand the use of robotics into areas ranging from education and agriculture to medical and defense, shifting their focus from manufacturing. The country had been shoring up the burgeoning industry by investing 75 billion won since 2002. But the funds were mostly channeled into developing assembly robots, officials said.

In last year’s pilot programs, robots were deployed for small-scale manufacturing, teaching, firefighting, demining, sewage repairs and patrolling danger zones, among other tasks. The project led Curexo, a local startup, to add 3.53 billion won in sales by selling high-tech robotic equipment for artificial joint operations to hospitals in Korea and India.

In another development, Ilshim Global in August sealed two deals worth 4.4 billion won with Euroboats of Germany and Ezicom of France to supply a combined 20,000 units of window cleaning robots. Other companies such as Yujin Robot, Gaha and ED are discussing exports with clients in countries like New Zealand, Finland and Denmark after demonstrating their products for health care and education services at nursing homes there. “The programs helped Korean firms open up new markets, branch out abroad and boost the use of robots across industries,” the ministry said in a statement.

Seeking to expedite commercial production and induce more private investment, the economy ministry said it plans to select other promising developers for the 22.4 billion won initiative. Korea tails Japan, Germany and the U.S. in the global robots industry, which is forecast to grow to $100 billion in 2018 from $5.7 billion in 2010, according to the International Federation of Robotics. The Frankfurt-based industry body picked Korea as one of the most dynamic robot markets along with China and the ASEAN countries. In 2010, Korean firms sold some 23,500 robots at home and abroad, more than triple the 2009 level, it estimated. “Huge investments made by the electronics industry and the motor vehicle industry were mostly responsible for this large increase in robot sales,” the IFR said.

Metra Martech, a London-based research firm, noted that the robotics industry helped create up to 5 million jobs worldwide in recent years and remains a major force behind employment growth. The mainstay of the high value-added industry is also shifting to service robots, which help with household and office chores and other professional missions including surgery, navigation, milking, teaching and military operations, it added.  In December 2010, the ministry unveiled a comprehensive package to underpin the nascent service robotics industry. It will spend 30 billion won for development, commercialization, standardization and marketing by 2017.

Also see previous blog here or use the search term "Windoro" in the top left corner.

Sunday 26 February 2012

Sunday Window Cleaning News

Finding a quiet place, John Hughes sits at a desk he pulled from the bushes above Bennington Lake on Thursday afternoon. He created a mental workplace for himself where he could enjoy the day and mull over life before window washing season starts again. “I do a lot of praying, so what more ideal place could there be right now ... this is one of those moments you’d like not to end,” Hughes said.

BOSTON — The danger he faced in Iraq was constant, and that's reflected in how Erick Valiente remembers the M-16 rifle he took on patrol. "That was my right hand, pretty much," said the former Marine infantryman. "I don't think I ever let go of that weapon." The rifle is gone, but Valiente still carries burdens from his service that complicate his civilian life, including post-traumatic stress disorder and a restlessness that made finding work difficult. That is, until a friend who works for U.S. Sen. John Kerry mentioned an opening for a swordfish boat crewman. This month, Valiente returned from his first trip, a three-week stint 700 miles east of the Bahamas. He liked the military, but his post-traumatic stress eventually made it impossible to stay on as infantryman, so he left.
Recent times have seen Valiente try various things, including college, which he didn't take to, and a job as a window washer on high-rise buildings in Boston, which was more his speed. But that work shut down in the winter, and Valiente was left juggling unsatisfying odd jobs to support his longtime girlfriend and their 4-year-old daughter. To spur hiring of veterans, President Barack Obama last year signed the Vow to Hire Heroes Act, which includes incentives such as tax credits for employers that hire veterans. Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, co-sponsored the bill. "Finding a job once you get out of the Marine Corps, you tend to get really bored, really, really fast," he said. Fishing for tuna and swordfish is not dull, but it's definitely not for everyone. Malley made that clear to Valiente when they met for lunch just after Christmas. He told him about the weeks-long trips with only short windows of time in port, and how hard that is on families. Then there's the brutal work of hauling and setting hundreds of hooks on up to 50 miles of line.

It is believed she was cleaning windows; elderly couple tried in vain to save her.
Maid falls to her death from 8th-floor window (Singapore): The maid is said to have fallen from this block (pictured) at Ivory Heights condominium. She was taken to hospital, but was later pronounced dead. A mid-afternoon drama ended at a Jurong East condominium when a maid fell to her death after a desperate bid to save her failed. The 26-year-old Indonesian was believed to be cleaning the windows of her employer's home at Ivory Heights condominium when she fell, neighbours said. 'I heard the screams, looked up and saw her at the window,' said a Filipino maid who declined to be named. 'There were two people trying to pull her in but she still fell,' she said on Saturday. Singapore seems to be having a lot of window cleaning accidents of late.

Maid falls eight floors to her death:  A mid-afternoon drama ended at a Jurong East condominium when a maid fell to her death after a desperate bid to save her failed. The 26-year-old Indonesian was believed to be cleaning the windows of her employer’s home at Ivory Heights condominium when she fell. Two people tried to pull her in but failed. Condominium residents said the incident was not the first: In 2007, another maid fell from the 21st floor of a neighbouring block. She was also said to have been cleaning windows when she fell. Between 2006 and 2010, a total of 27 maids died as a result of “falls from height”. The figure includes accidental falls and suicides. Several residents interviewed said that after the last incident, they had forbidden their maids to clean the exterior side of the window. Resident Elizabeth Chan, 65, said: “Just let the rain do the work. What’s the harm?”

Arrest made in fatal SoMa stabbing: An arrest has been made in the South of Market stabbing that claimed the life of Joseph Minozzi, a 30-year-old high-rise window washer who had appeared in a 2010 episode of A&E’s “Intervention,” police said. San Francisco police and U.S. Marshals detained Charles Robertson, 42, of Fairfield, in Sacramento without incident on Wednesday and charged him with San Francisco's first murder of 2012.
Robertson was booked into Sacramento County Jail and later transferred to San Francisco County Jail, where he awaits trial, police said. Minozzi was found lying near the corner of Sixth and Stevenson streets just south of Market Street about 2:30 a.m. on Jan. 12. He died about an hour later at the hospital. He was negatively portrayed in the tenth season of the A&E show "Intervention." A coworker described his character as “completely different” from how he appeared on the show. Previous blog on this story here.

Saturday 25 February 2012

Invisible Solar Panels Will Replace Glass

“Invisible” Solar Panels are on the Way - Window gazers of the future may soon find themselves looking right through an energy-producing transparent glass solar panel, if the folks at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory are on the right track. Working with the company New Energy Technologies, Inc., the lab has produced a transparent photovoltaic module that is 14 times bigger than its last attempt.

Windows that double as solar panels:
At 170 square centimeters (about 26 square inches), the new module is about the size of a small window. If the technology can be ramped up to a more useful scale, practically any glass window could double as a clean energy generator, with the embedded photovoltaic cell all but invisible. The largest device of its kind produced at NREL, the new module represents a breakthrough in organic photovoltaic cell (OPV) technology according to a statement by Dr. David S. Ginley of NREL, who said that integrating solar technology into window glass represents a “promising avenue for OPV deployment.”

Organic photovoltaic technology set to rise:
In contrast to conventional solar technology based on silicon, OPV cells can be made from a variety of inexpensive polymers (plastics), which can be produced in liquid form and sprayed onto a substrate, or applied using a high volume, inexpensive roll-to-roll manufacturing process. The two sticking main sticking points so far have been increasing the size of the solar module, and increasing its efficiency. The solar energy conversion efficiency of other solar technologies has been trending up in the double digits but OPV efficiency is currently stuck around eight percent according to NREL.
Though OPV is starting from a lowly place on the conversion efficiency totem pole, its potential for building-integrated usage puts it in a strong position in the solar industry. The relatively low conversion rate could be counterbalanced by the potential for extremely low installation costs compared to other solar technologies. See-through glass solar panels could simply be substituted for conventional window glass at a marginal increase in cost, rather than being treated as an expensive add-on.

A place in the sun(shot) for OPV:
Lowering the overall installed cost of solar power is a primary goal of President Obama’s SunShot Initiative, which aims to make solar energy compete on price against fossil fuels within the next few years. That partly explains why NREL is so gung-ho on OPV technology despite its low efficiency. It should be noted, though, that the focus on OPV predates the Obama Administration. OPV was part of the Solar America initiative under the Bush Administration. Despite a conversion efficiency of only five percent at the time, a 2007 Department of Energy draft report identified some key benefits of developing OPV technology, including “the inherent low materials cost and low-energy, high-throughput processing technologies, and because of the huge variety of possible organic systems.”

OPV and American-made energy:
Another aspect of NREL’s interest in OPV has to do with reliability and stability of price and supply, which are key elements in President Obama’s broader “American-made energy” pitch. The use of a variety of polymers would enable the U.S. solar industry to overcome a major obstacle that derives from reliance on silicon-based solar technology, and that is the price fluctuation of a single key material – silicon – on the open market.
According to a report last week in Bloomberg News, China, which it describes as the “biggest supplier to solar-panel manufacturers worldwide,” has shut down almost a third of its polysilicon production after prices fell by 60 percent, a move that is expected to result in a quick return to higher prices. However, it’s too soon to say good-bye to silicon forever. NREL is also working with another small company, Innovalight, to develop solar modules based on a low cost, nano-engineered spray-on liquid silicon process.

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Friday 24 February 2012

Close Call & Booming Business For Window Cleaners

 Bernard Saupe with his car. The dent on the bonnet shows where the brick landed before bouncing up on to the windscreen. Click to enlarge.
Yobs hurl brick at car from Portsmouth bridge: If it had been thrown half a second later, Bernard Saupe would have been killed by a brick that crashed through his windscreen as he drove at 70mph. The 64-year-old has told of his shock and anger after yobs dropped the missile on to his car from a bridge as he drove on the motorway to work. It hit the bonnet, bounced up and cracked his windscreen – but somehow the window cleaner managed to keep control of his car and avoided crashing.

It happened as Mr Saupe drove underneath the A27 footbridge that links Hilsea to the Highbury Estate, at 9.30am on Wednesday. ‘I was half a second from death,’ said Mr Saupe, of Lake Road, Landport. ‘The police told me if I had been half a second later I would have been killed and it could have caused a massive pile-up. ‘I’m lucky it hit my bonnet, because otherwise it would have come straight through and hit me right in the face.

‘I honestly don’t know how I kept control of the car, the bang was the loudest thing I’ve heard in my life. ‘By the time I looked up whoever dropped it had gone. ‘Now I just feel so angry – there could have been kids in my car. ‘I thought I just have to warn people to watch out. If they did it once they would do it again. In the end they are going to kill someone.’

Head of road safety for the AA Andrew Howard said the motoring organisation was concerned such incidents are on the increase. ‘The number of reports we are getting seems to suggest it is getting worse,’ he said. ‘It was especially bad last week and we suspected that was due to it being half-term.’ Cosham safer neighbourhoods Sergeant Guy Farmer said: ‘Fortunately, on this occasion the driver was uninjured and due to his quick thinking and calm reaction was able to prevent a further collision. ‘Throwing bricks or other items on to the motorway from a footbridge could have very serious consequences. ‘This type of behaviour may begin as a prank but has real potential to lead to a tragic conclusion.’ He added: ‘Those identified to be involved could face life-changing repercussions.’

Shine-Eze Window Care struggles to stay ahead of growing workload: Contrary to many businesses in the Comox Valley, Shine-Eze Window Care has come to the tough decision of either expanding or turning business away. Dwayne Robertson, owner, established Shine-Eze Window Care in 1998, building his business on the ethics of offering only quality workmanship and good customer service. In 14 years this has grown to a commercial and residential customer base of over 3000 regular customers.

Dwayne's business began with offering only window cleaning to residential and small commercial businesses and has since expanded to include new construction window cleaning, gutter cleaning, and vinyl siding cleaning. With training in the use of everything from a 6" squeegee to an 85' boom lift his clientele now includes everyone from the small "Mom & Pop" businesses to St. Joseph's Hospital and CFB Comox. While Shine-Eze is open year round, crunch time is always in the spring when everyone wants to be rid of the winter haze on their windows.

Normally by this time of year Dwayne is booking three months in advance; however this year seems extraordinary. Currently Dwayne is booked solid from mid-March until the beginning of July. Many of Dwayne's regular customers have learned the hard way that if you don't book your spring cleaning in the fall your spring cleaning soon becomes a summer cleaning. To deal with the overflow of business Dwayne has begun the tedious process of hiring extra staff and contemplating starting a third truck and crew. If you or anyone you know is interested in a dynamic work environment where you get to see all aspects of the valley, you can email Dwayne at

More booming business for Pryors window cleaning in the UK as well..

Thursday 23 February 2012

Window Cleaning News

Party prep: Bill Berry of the Columbus Window Cleaning Co. makes the glass shine at the Columbus Convention Center. The center was being spruced up yesterday for the city’s bicentennial party. Click to enlarge.

Pervert window cleaner took hundreds of photos of women & girls on his mobile phone, court hears: A pervert window cleaner secretly took pictures of hundreds of women and girls as young as 13 on his mobile phone. George Dunlop targeted his unsuspecting victims in supermarkets, at petrol stations, as they hung out washing or just walked down the street. Most of the 500 images found on his phone were of their bottoms and breasts, Ayr Sheriff Court heard. He spied on the girls during their break time at a school in the town. Dunlop, 38, who is still working as a window cleaner in Troon and Symington, amassed his sinister collection between April 2008 and February last year.
His behaviour was uncovered when his business partner was tipped off and reported it to police. Giving evidence this week, PC Steven Woodley, who investigated the case, said that during his interview, Dunlop admitted that he was sexually excited by the photos. One woman had her picture taken 45 times as he followed her. Lynne Jeffrey, defending, argued that Dunlop was not guilty of breaching the peace because he was not caught in the act.
But Sheriff Jack McGowan found him guilty and said: “You took photos surreptitiously, in secret, and focused on particular parts of the anatomy. You were hiding what you were doing.” Dunlop, of Ayr, shook his head as he heard he would be placed on the sex offenders’ register. He was released on bail and will be sentenced next month. One of his victims said outside court: “Sooner or later he’d have got bored of taking photos and stepped it up a gear. It’s terrifying to think where it could have led.”

Edward Overby diligently cleans the windows in the Carnegie Museum Monday. Click to enlarge.

Port Melbourne teen is fighting for his tennis dream: A crippling genetic hip disorder has shattered the dreams of rising tennis hopeful Kiean Kranjcec-Caravidas, 16. But the Port Melbourne teen is determined to revive his hopes of life on the professional tennis circuit by raising money needed for surgery to fix his condition. A year ago his future had been promising and, after being named the nation's most improved player by Tennis Australia, he was hoping to break into the junior tour circuit. But that all changed during a tournament in Melbourne last July, when he felt shooting pains but kept playing, hoping it would go. It didn't and continued to plague him, and he ended up no longer able to even walk. Doctors discovered he suffered a condition exacerbated by training where 0.5mm at the top of his thigh bones kept catching on tendons. It could be fixed through shaving off the excess bone through keyhole surgery but came with a $16,000 price tag, which he could not afford. Kiean has swapped eight hours of training a day for work as a window and gutter cleaner to raise funds for the surgery. "It's pretty disappointing," he said of his condition. Dad and coach James Caravidas said his son was "devastated" but "doing his best to get around it". Kiean started playing tennis aged four.

After Irene, Londonderry Family Counts Blessings: Some of the people who were flooded by Tropical Storm Irene have been out their homes for five months now. And they say they're grieving, as if someone close to them has died. In the final part of our series, Vermonters Displaced By Irene, VPR's Nancy Cohen reports on one family who is also counting its blessings.  The couple and their two youngest sons are squeezed into a one-bedroom apartment in the home of a friend. Standing in the cramped kitchen, Jen says they were lucky they had a place to go to after the flood. When Dave and Jen Morris compare their four-bedroom, 1,700-square-foot home in Londonderry to where they live now, it doesn't sound like they have much anymore. Jen is 44 , Dave 47. They met 26 years ago as young ski bums at Stratton Mountain. They have four sons, an 8- and a 9-year-old at home, and two in college. The couple runs a window-cleaning business that caters to second homeowners. Dave Morris said "Yeah, exactly. People who I only know from washing their windows once a year came down with their families and helped us move things out. It was amazing, it really was, to see."

A $25 billion landmark settlement with the nation's five largest mortgage servicers over the foreclosure "robo-signing" scandal — including nearly $200 million for Connecticut — will bring much-needed help to struggling homeowners and dramatic change in how all servicers deal with their customers. The agreement is the largest state-federal settlement in history, touched off by a scandal in 2010 that exposed abuses and fraud in nationwide mortgage servicing practices. Michael Drena, a window cleaner from Bloomfield, has wrangled with Bank of America for nearly three years to change the terms of his mortgage after a divorce and a downturn in his business left him cash-strapped. His frustration with the bank has steadily mounted. He has submitted at least 10 sets of documents and made more than 200 calls about the mortgage on the 1920s Dutch Colonial he bought five years ago. "Most people would have given up by now," Drena said. "I'm hoping that this will be something productive for homeowners, but I'm worried there is going to be too much red tape." Drena said he finally did win a loan modification on a trial basis late last year, but his new monthly payment, $1,978 — including escrow for taxes and insurance — is just $128 less than what he previously paid. "That isn't that much," Drena said.

Calculating Rent Escalation: As tenants are growing restless and struggling with the economic downturn, many business owners are reading the fine print of their leases to see if they're overpaying for everything from window cleaning to electricity.  Rent escalation clauses, which provide for increases in rent each year to help account for inflation, have proven a particularly contentious subject. While that might make some landlords nervous, for business owners pinched by tough times, it's become increasingly popular. "When the market was tough and everybody was looking for every nickel they could find, the tenants were a little bit more focused on that," says Seth Molod, a partner at Berdon LLP, an accounting firm.

Increased income inequality has been a pretty universal trend among developed countries over the past 25 years. That does not mean there are not instructive differences between them or that we should be complacent about the fact that by several measures income inequality has risen more steeply in New Zealand than elsewhere. But it does suggest there are big historical and global forces at work here, not just failures of domestic policy or more fundamentally of human sympathy. More to it, in short, than an institutionalised "I'm all right Jack" outlook. Policymakers have, after all, made efforts to mitigate the effects of rising inequality. So what are the drivers of income inequality and what can be done about them? Unfortunately two of the major drivers, technological change and globalisation, are not things that can be reversed or even resisted for very long. The same advances, in information and communications technology especially, which amplify the productivity of people at the higher end of the continuum of skill levels, tend to have hollowed out the middle. But it is important to recognise the limits they face. By contrast the highly skilled and the relatively low-skilled performing manual but non-routine tasks, the professor of ophthalmic surgery or the window-cleaner if you will, are less at risk from the digital revolution.

Window cleaner Boylan getting back in the ring: When he is not cleaning windows, Ricky Boylan is preparing for his next fight, writes Matthew Bozeat. The 23-year-old window cleaner from Carshalton will box on the undercard of the vacant WBO intercontinental super-featherweight title fight between Stephen Smith and Ben Jones at the Troxy in Limehouse, London, on March 2. Boylan, joined on the undercard by fellow Carshalton boxer Lee Owen, is out to make it four wins from four fights and hopes to take plenty of support with him. “My customers ask me when I’m boxing and a few buy tickets from me, so I must be doing a good job,” said Boylan, who works for his trainer Alan Smith. “The atmosphere was electric at my last fight. “I didn’t expect to have that sort of support and it gave me such a lift.”
Boylan picked himself up from a first-round knockdown against Radislav Mitev in November to score a fourth-round stoppage and believes he learned from that experience. “I didn’t know anything about my opponent and he caught me cold,” he added. "I now know I can’t underestimate anyone and that I have to start quicker. “This is a big year for me and if I can get five or six wins, I will be looking for titles before long.”

A can of window cleaning spray wielded by a quick-thinking employee prevented the robbery of a store at 64 Kado St. in Wilkes-Barre on Saturday. According to city police, a teenage male came into Leonard's Kielbasi Market at about 1:05 p.m. and asked about a job. When employee Ruth Nestorick approached him, the teen pulled out a black gun, pointed it at her and demanded the money from the register. When Nestorick told him she did not have any, the teen started banging on the antique cash register in an unsuccessful attempt to open it. While he was doing this, Nestorick reached down behind the counter and grabbed a can of foaming window cleaner. When she stood up, she sprayed the teen in the face with it. He fled out the door and ran west on Kado Street.

Men ready to strip for fund: A group of men are being put through their paces at a dance studio as they prepare to strip for charity. The amateur performers – which include a couple of window cleaners and a barber – are preparing for a 'Full Monty' night in aid of four-year-old cancer sufferer Ruby Owen (pictured). The evening – which will take place at Kidsgrove Working Men's Club – has been organised by Jo Leighton, a friend of Ruby's family. Jo, aged 37, of Kidsgrove, said: "The lads are nervous but are looking forward to it. "They are having some lessons at Defy Gravity Dance Studio." Fund-raisers need to come up with £50,000 to send Ruby to America where she can receive potentially life-saving Proton Therapy Treatment. So far efforts have seen more than £70,000 raised for the cause. Tickets for the night – which will be held on March 23 from 7pm – are priced at £10. Jo added: "We hope it will be a really good night."

An 87-year-old African-American widow and her daughter who operated two cleaning companies at the same address in Philadelphia. The mother’s company, Watts Window Cleaning & Janitorial Co., won $6 million in sheltered contracts through 2001. The daughter’s company, Watts Industries Inc., then obtained certification as disadvantaged and lined up $609,403 more, government contracting records show. The daughter, Yvette Watts, 48, who is listed with the Pennsylvania Department of State as an officer of both companies, didn’t respond to requests for comment. Her mother, Priscilla, said by telephone that she was unfamiliar with the SBA program for the disadvantaged. “What’s that?” the elder Watts said.

Teen falls 46 stories to death down high-rise garbage chute: Chicago - A 16-year-old boy fell to his death through a garbage chute late Monday in a Gold Coast high-rise, police said. The teen apparently was doing chores when he plunged 46 stories through the building's trash chute. Police and fire officials were called just after 11 p.m. to Astor Condominiums on the 1500 block of North Astor Street. The building is 48 stories tall. Witnesses told NBCChicago the teen has a mental disability, and he was taking out the garbage when he may have slipped and somehow fell into the chute. The boy's body was found in the trash compactor in the basement, police said.

Police arrest 2 after residents report door-to-door sales scam: West University Place police recently arrested two teenagers in connection to reports of door-to-door solicitors trying to scam residents. Police recently warned residents to look out for youths going door-to-door claiming to need donations for their athletic team's travel to a game in areas such as Hawaii. Officer Katie Wilson said the teenagers are selling magazines and also offer services including window washing. "They'll cash your check and you'll never see your magazines and never receive any cleaning services," Wilson said. "They give you a receipt with an e-mail and phone number, but they're fake."

Awarded a contract for window cleaning at Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport to Winco Window Cleaning Co. of Amarillo. The contract will cost $27,912 for the initial year, with as many as three optional one-year renewals for the same annual cost, City Manager Jarrett Atkinson said. The contract reflects a cost increase of 8 percent, due in part to increased glass at the renovated terminal, Jarrett Atkinson said. Money for the contract is in the airport’s current operating budget.

Nine defendants in the UVF supergrass trial have been cleared of the murder of UDA leader Tommy English 12 years ago. Loyalist leader Mark Haddock had been accused of being the UVF commander responsible for the murder on Halloween night in 2000. UDA chief English, 40, was gunned down in his house in Newtownabbey, Co Antrim in front of his wife and three young children during a bloody feud between the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and the UDA. Sitting for 21 weeks, the trial at Belfast Crown Court was one of the longest in Northern Ireland's legal history and is set to be one of the most expensive. The prosecution case against 13 men in the five month trial at Belfast Crown Court was based on the testimony of two brothers and self-confessed UVF members who turned state's evidence in return for significantly reduced jail terms. Window cleaners Robert and Ian Stewart alleged that nine of the defendants were involved in the murder.

Buckhead Attorney Tracks Rare Falcons From the Perfect Perch: As Crowley wondered how a nest could be found, the answer showed up right outside his window. Who is able to scale tall buildings? Window washers, of course. Using his binoculars, he zoomed in on the window washers’ shirts to read a company name. Again, he turned to the Internet. He easily connected with the right people who were glad to alert their staff working at the Buckhead Grand to keep their eyes peeled. Out of the blue, Crowley received a call from the Buckhead Grand’s building manager. Window washers found a nest. Not surprisingly, it was placed on the steepest, most inaccessible extreme slope of the building. Mama Falcon had laid her eggs inside an empty light fixture, an ingenious substitute for hidden crevices on a mountaintop. Two babies — known as eyasses — were inside.  Crowley notes, “You couldn’t get a safer, more protected spot, and one with a fantastic 50-mile view.” When asked how he felt when he heard the good news, Crowley says he marveled at how so many people collaborated to piece the evidence together, and how it all worked. He calls it “crowd sourcing” at its best.

Arts Center pays $1.4M to 'cost consultant' ORLANDO, Fla. - Construction is underway at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, but FOX 35 has learned it comes with a hefty price tag for what is called a "cost consultant." That consultant was paid $1.4 million by the Center, but the work is already finished. The consultant only stayed with the project until last year when construction companies took over the job of watching the money. The consultant never put the brakes on any of the spending projects we've brought you in the past, like wind tunnel consultants, window washing consultants and more. Mike Moran is a taxpayer that supports the arts center project, but wonders why this costs so much and the consultant is from out of town.

Milford Chamber “Green” Award: Raymond Daneault, Impressions Cleaning Services: Daneault, who both lives and works in Milford, is actively involved in the community as a long-time member of the Milford Chamber of Commerce, the Milford Rotary, and Milford Yacht Club. After a previous career in the music industry and a subsequent franchising foray, he launched Impressions Services — a top end cleaning service — in 1987. Daneault focuses intently on protecting the environment, the health of his employees, and the health of all that enter his clients’ premises.
Impressions Services utilizes green, environmentally friendly products and methods. Daneault has developed a following among the medical community with his ‘medical sterile zone’ cleaning process currently used in operating rooms and scrub areas throughout New Haven and Fairfield counties. Impressions Services utilizes this ‘touch everything’ approach developed for the medical community even when cleaning in a less exacting environment. Ray now fills a niche by catering to all types of businesses that want to provide the cleanest, healthiest workplace for their customers and employees. As a bonus, Ray’s clients have reported a reduction in absenteeism which many attribute to the disinfecting of their workspaces. Less colds and flu passed around the office is a real plus.
While still serving his very first client, Ray has consistently built the business by providing uncompromising and satisfaction-guaranteed services. Commercial clients are provided with a diverse selection of services including confidential document shredding, carpet cleaning, utilizing a truck mounted deep extraction method, construction site cleanup and debris removal, floor stripping and waxing, and window cleaning. Residential services include detail cleaning, appliance removal, post remodeling and construction cleaning, entire home cleanout and a special protocol used when preparing a home for sale or prior to a new owner taking possession.

A lettings agent has lost its Midland university accreditation after it charged a student tenant for removing two flies from her window ledge. Campbell Property had been listed as a member of the Midland Landlord Accreditation Scheme, which is run by Birmingham University for students in the city. Now it has been kicked off the scheme following a series complaints which were reported in the Sunday Mercury. The Wiltshire-based firm ordered Birmingham City University undergraduate Katie Evans to pay them £290 for cleaning Edgbaston digs after she moved out. The 20 year-old, of Bridgnorth, Shropshire, said she left the property spotless. But the lettings agent sent her photos of two dead flies on a window ledge, along with other shots, as evidence of the work they said they had to carry out. Fellow Birmingham City University student Louise Williams, 21, said she was also stung with high fees, despite spending a day cleaning her former home, also in Edgbaston. The firm billed her £210 – including £5 for wiping dust off surfaces. And her flatmate was charged £2 after he left a safety pin in a drawer. A spokeswoman for MLAS said: “We can confirm that Campbell Property is no longer an accredited member of the MLAS.”

Police are looking for witnesses after an elderly woman was distracted during a burglary at her house on Monday. The 88 year-old woman was sitting in her lounge at around 4pm when a man claiming to be the window cleaner knocked on her door in The Avenue, Flitwick shouting ‘window cleaner.’ She let him into her hallway and when he asked if he could look at the broken window she explained she wasn’t able to show him but described it. He then left. Once she had returned to her chair, she found her purse was un-zipped in her trolley and more than £250 had been taken. It is believed that another offender entered the house whilst she was talking to the first man and stole the purse from the trolley.

Modernist photographers looked at the world in a brand-new way. Photographers sometimes deliberately masked their subject matter to disorient the viewer. Sometimes the viewer gets a little help, though. In "Window Cleaner, New York," Ruth Jacobi rotated an image that was taken looking straight up the wall of a building, at first a puzzling view of geometric patterns. A tiny figure in the corner, a window cleaner, re-orients the viewer.

Dahar v. Holland Ladder & Manufacturing Company: Robert S. Smith, J.: Plaintiff was injured when he fell from a ladder in a factory while cleaning a product manufactured by his employer. We hold that his activity was not protected by Labor Law §240. Plaintiff claims that he was engaged in "cleaning" the wall module, which was a "structure"; that the ladder given him failed to provide "proper protection". And even in window-cleaning cases, we have not extended the statute's coverage to every activity that might fit within its literal terms. We held in Connors and Brown, and reaffirmed in Broggy, that routine household window washing is not covered.

Santorum leads Romney in tight Michigan race, poll shows: Dennis Sokol, 41, of Lansing is a high-rise window cleaner who considers himself independent of any political party — but he plans to vote for Santorum. "I've kind of liked him all along, but I also liked Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann at the beginning," he said. "I'm pretty much anybody-but-Romney." His reasoning mirrors the messages coming from the Santorum campaign: Romney, to Sokol, adopted policies as governor of Massachusetts, especially in the area of health care reform, that are too similar to the Democrats' and President Barack Obama's.

A 27-year-old Akron woman intentionally rammed her vehicle into the victim’s garage door at a Harvey NW residence. The garage is attached to the residence, which the victim uses for his place of employment. The suspect also rammed her vehicle into the victim's vehicle, which is used for his window washing business. The woman was charged with two counts of vandalism.

Suspicious activity - complaint leads to drug arrests: A complaint about a man washing his vehicle with a window-cleaning brush led to two arrests on drug charges. An officer responded at 6:40 a.m. Wednesday to the Gulf gas station on West Main Street, according to a police report. The complaint reportedly said the man appeared under the influence of an intoxicant. Christopher S. Bullock, 34, of Big Hill Avenue, was identified as the man attempting to wash his car, according to the report.

City of Willmar, Minn., staff find ways to cut $280K: In other business, the council approved multiple contracts with ServiceMaster of Willmar for custodial services at city buildings, including the Community and Activity Center; window cleaning at city buildings; and floor cleaning at the wastewater treatment facility, Fire Department and City Hall. The Finance Committee recommended the contracts, totaling $47,389, because the council had decided against filling a vacant custodial position and had directed city staff to investigate hiring a private cleaning contractor to assist the remaining two custodians.

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